Following the IGF directors’ meeting, the orientation meeting, the IGF General Meeting, and a smoothly run press conference, the tournament proper kicked off with an elaborate banquet at the Tian Yuan Tower, attended by the players, the officials, and many important guests. The banquet began with speeches by Guoping Wang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Hangzhou Municipal People’s Congress, and the new IGF President Zhenming Chang, and a toast proposed by IGF Vice-President Hideo Otake. This was followed by a huge variety of food served in high style to the accompaniment of a five-piece orchestra playing traditional Chinese instruments. It all ended in good time, however, for the players to get a good night’s rest in preparation for the next day.
What sort of opponents are the players hoping to encounter during the tournament? Here is a random sampling of answers to this question.
– Ondrej Silt (6-dan, Hungary): Yohei Sato, the Japanese player, quite strong, whom I knew as an insei.
– Yohei Sato (6-dan, Japan): No one in particular, but I’d prefer not to play the 11-year-old boy from Chinese Taipei, who is probably very strong, and I’m also worried about Ondrej Silt.
– Pal Balogh (5-dan (Hungary): The players from DPR Korea and Hong Kong.
– Bernhard Scheid (5-dan, Austria): Older players about my strength, because when I play a younger player, I find myself hoping that he wins.
– Janez Janza (3-dan, Slovenia): Fernando Aguilar from Argentina. He has a nice style.
– Giedrius Tumelis (2-dan, Lithuania): The player from Norway. He seems to be about my strength.
– Oeystein Vestgaarden (2-dan, Norway): The Spanish player, because I lost to a Spaniard in the last round of the World Mind Sports Games.
– Csaba Deak (1-kyu, Brazil): Some opponents about the same strength as me.
– Francesca Mauri (5-kyu, Italy): Someone I can beat, in at least one game.
– James Davies